BATH

A settlement has been reached between Bath Iron Works and a former employee who claimed he was discriminated against by the shipyard.

Brian Bennett of Bath had alleged that the shipyard, where he worked from 2008 to 2016, discriminated against him by firing him instead of providing him with reasonable accommodation after he took about two months of medical leave for mental health reasons.

When he returned to work in March 2016, Bennett claimed he was called into a meeting where he was accused of fraud because he still coached high school basketball while on leave from work. His doctor, he said, had recommended he continue to coach the team for continuity and to get him outside of his home. According to the lawsuit, BIW said he had abandoned his job and was guilty of fraud.

Bennett provided access to medical records and a letter from his psychiatrist who explained that he should continue coaching for therapeutic reasons. Bennett filed a com- plaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission alleging discrimination, and BIW received the notice on June 27. The MHRC issued a right to sue notice.

Three days later, BIW claimed Bennett didn’t provide justification for his absence from work during his leave, and he was fired in July 2016.

Bennett filed the suit in February. He is represented by Chad Hansen of the Maine Employee Rights Group.

The terms of the settlement are not part of the public record, but the notice was filed on Oct. 6.

Attempts to reach attorneys involved in the matter were unsuccessful. However, in court filings, Ernest Babcock, attorney for BIW, denies any wrongdoing.

Nearly 6,000 people work at BIW, the region’s largest employer.



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